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Optimal care pathways

The optimal care pathways describe a model of cancer care that puts the patient at the centre of care decisions. They describe a national standard of high-quality cancer care that all Australians should expect. 

The optimal care pathways aim to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive cancer treatment.

Cancer Council Victoria, supported by the Victorian Government, has recently undertaken work to refresh the optimal care pathways and quick reference guides for 15 cancer types (2nd edition).

Work is currently underway to refresh the consumer version of the optimal care pathways – guides to best cancer care.

The 2nd edition of the optimal care pathways for cancer of unknown primary, cervical cancer and sarcoma are currently in progress. 

The optimal care pathways are endorsed by Cancer Australia, the former National Cancer Expert Reference Group (a committee that reported to the former Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee and, through this committee, to the former Council of Australian Governments Health Council) and all states and territories. The optimal care pathways have Australia-wide acceptance and government support, and are being implemented nationally.

The optimal care pathways are available in their full version or as a quick reference guide: 

Optimal care pathways

Quick reference guides

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer [August 2018] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer [August 2018]
Acute myeloid leukaemia [2nd edition] Acute myeloid leukaemia [2nd edition]

Keratinocyte cancer (basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma) [2nd edition]

Keratinocyte cancer (basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma) [2nd edition]
Breast cancer [2nd edition] Breast cancer [2nd edition]
Cancer of unknown primary [January 2020] Cancer of unknown primary [January 2020]
Cervical cancer [January 2020] Cervical cancer [January 2020]
Colorectal cancer [2nd edition] Colorectal cancer [2nd edition]
Endometrial cancer [2nd edition] Endometrial cancer [2nd edition]
Head and neck cancer [2nd edition] Head and neck cancer [2nd edition]
Hepatocellular carcinoma [2nd edition] Hepatocellular carcinoma [2nd edition]
High-grade glioma [2nd edition] High-grade glioma [2nd edition]
Hodgkin and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas [2nd edition] Hodgkin and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas [2nd edition]
Lung cancer [2nd edition] Lung cancer [2nd edition]
Melanoma [2nd edition] Melanoma [2nd edition]
Oesophagogastric cancer [2nd edition] Oesophagogastric cancer [2nd edition]
Ovarian cancer [2nd edition] Ovarian cancer [2nd edition]
Pancreatic cancer [2nd edition] Pancreatic cancer [2nd edition] 
Prostate cancer [2nd edition] Prostate cancer [2nd edition]
Sarcoma [January 2020] Sarcoma [January 2020]

For general practitioners and primary care staff

To support you, your practice, and your patients, you can refer to:

  • Quick reference guides to understand the optimal cancer care for specific tumour types.
  • I-PACED (Implementing Pathways for Cancer Early Diagnosis) resources highlight recommendations in the OCPs and provide information about prevention, early detection, initial investigation and referral pathways. These resources were developed with an aim to assist GPs about critical primary care points and the recommended care that should be offered. Refer to the resource cards for:
  • Prostate and oesophagogastric I-PACED eLearning modules are based on common patient presentations in general practice and focus on imparting the necessary skills and knowledge to enable GPs to provide current evidence-based care to their patients. These free modules include case studies, tools and resources that highlight recommendations in the OCPs and provide information about prevention, early detection, initial investigation and referral pathways. For access to these modules, go to  eLearning modules for general practitioners.

Guides to best cancer care

Work is currently underway to refresh the guides to best cancer care.

The short guides help patients, carers and families understand the optimal cancer care that should be provided at each step. They include optimal timeframes within which tests or procedures should be completed, prompt lists to support patients to understand what might happen at each step of their cancer journey and to consider what questions to ask, and provide information to help patients and carers communicate with health professionals.

View the guides to best cancer care

Governance arrangements

The Optimal Care Pathways Project Steering Committee provides guidance on the development of new OCPs, and on the revision and maintenance of the existing content. Current committee members are outlined below.

Members

Title

Prof Robert Thomas (Chair)

Special Advisor on Health, Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne

Dr Anna Boltong

Head of National Cancer Control, Cancer Australia

Ms Karen Botting

Manager, Cancer Reform, Cancer Unit, Commissioning and System Improvement Division, Department of Health

Ms Julie Callaghan

System Improvement Lead, Cancer Institute NSW

Ms Spiridoula Galetakis

Program Manager, Victorian Integrated Cancer Services, Cancer Unit, Commissioning and System Improvement Division, Department of Health

Prof Dorothy Keefe

Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Australia

Dr Ashanya Malalasekera

Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital NSW

Ms Angela Mellerick

Nurse Unit Manager, Day Oncology Unit, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre

Mr David Meredyth

Director, Cancer Service Section, Australian Government Department of Health

Prof Jeremy Millar

Research Director, Radiation Oncology, Alfred Health

Mr John Preston

Consumer Representative

Ms Danielle Spence

Head of Division, Strategy and Support, Cancer Council Victoria

Ms Kathryn Whitfield

Director, Cancer Support Treatment and Research Unit, Commissioning and System Improvement Division, Department of Health

 

 

For more information:

For more information regarding the optimal care pathways, or to send feedback, please email optimalcare.pathways@cancervic.org.au.

Page last updated:

This webpage was last updated in August 2021.